Best Pre-Roll Feature
- Ring Video Doorbell 4
- eufy Security 2K Video Doorbell (Battery Powered)
Most Budget Friendly
- EZVIZ DB1
A doorbell is a classic part of many homes and is super simple. They’re not so helpful if you’re not around though. Smart doorbells allow you to receive notifications when you’re away from home on your phone, most even allow you to have a two-way voice chat. This allows you to tell a delivery driver where to leave a package or to tell someone to leave your property.
Smart doorbells commonly also feature a built-in video camera so you can see who it is you’re talking to. The camera can automatically detect movement and let you know when something’s happening, even if your doorbell hasn’t been rung yet. This way you can see when someone tries to steal some packages left on your porch. Even if you’re not available to respond to the notification right away, video is recorded, locally, or to the cloud, for you to review later.
To help you secure your home we’ve drawn up a list of the best mid-market smart doorbells in 2021.
- 2K camera sensor
- Wide Dynamic Resolution
- No subscription
- Resolution: 2560×1920
- Aspect ratio: 4:3
- Battery life: 120 days
The eufy Security 2K Video Doorbell (Battery Powered) is a cloudless smart doorbell. It records all video footage to a base station that you place inside your house. The base station has 16GB of storage, though that can’t be upgraded. Video is recorded in 4:3 to provide a strong horizontal and vertical field of view. When the doorbell is rung or the motion detection is triggered, your phone will receive a notification and you can connect to it remotely over a secure connection.
The doorbell itself can use the included batteries which provide 120 days of battery life, or it can be wired into an existing doorbell power system. The big advantage of the use of local storage over a cloud-based solution is that you don’t need to pay a subscription fee. This means you only ever need to pay the initial price, there are no hidden long-term costs. Despite the high resolution, the video quality may appear a bit low if there’s a lot of movement because the bitrate is quite low. The frame rate is also relatively low making movement seem a little stuttery and making it less likely that you catch a good picture of a would-be thief’s face. The lens also adds a fisheye effect which isn’t cancelled out.
- Alexa integrations
- Removable battery pack
- Four second pre-roll
- Resolution: 1920×1080
- Aspect ratio: 16:9
- Battery life: “Multiple months”
The Ring Video Doorbell 4 features a 1080p video camera with a wide 160° field of view. Its battery pack is designed to be removable, so you don’t have to remove the entire doorbell to recharge it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a second battery, so there will be some downtime while your battery recharges unless you purchase a spare. Alternatively, you can connect it to your existing doorbell power cables, so you don’t have to worry about it ever running out of battery.
One of the biggest downsides of many smart doorbells is that you need to pay a subscription fee for the cloud services, on top of the initial cost of the doorbell. Technically, Ring doorbells work without a subscription, but you can only get a live view or click on a notification as it comes in. If you want to be able to see recordings, you will need to subscribe for at least $3 a month. This fee is per device, but Ring also offers a $10 a month tier that allows for unlimited devices in your household so may be worth it if you’re planning to get a few other Ring devices too. The lack of HDR means that you may end up with some parts of the video being too dark or bright to see properly
- Broad Smart home compatibility including Home Kit
- HDR for good contrast
- Built-in siren to deter intruders
- Resolution: 1536×1536
- Aspect ratio: 1:1
- Battery life: Wired
The Arlo Essential Wired Video Doorbell features a resolution of 1536×1536 which allows it to have a wide and tall field of view so you can see the person at your door from head to toe. The advertisements do claim a wide 180° field of view, however, they also clearly compare it to a 16:9 camera that has a wider horizontal field of view. HDR is a great feature though as it makes it much less likely that the image is over- or under-exposed.
If you check an alert and notice something amiss and want to try to scare someone off, you can enable a siren built into the doorbell. Three seconds of pre-roll video gives you a bit more context into a clip and can be important, especially with the somewhat sort 5m motion detection range. While you can subscribe to a cloud storage solution, you can also purchase a compatible base station for $100 that allows you to store your videos locally rather than in the cloud.
- Free cloud storage for events in the last 3 hours
- MicroSD car slot for up to 128GB
- RTSP enabled for saving video to network storage
- Resolution: 2048×1536
- Aspect ratio: 4:3
- Battery life: Wired
The EZVIZ DB1 is notably cheap but offers a solid feature set that is surprisingly difficult to beat. A key selling point will likely be its storage options. It features a microSD card slot for up to 128GB of on-device storage, you can also stream to a network video recorder. A cloud service is available for a paid subscription, though there is a rare free tier.
The free cloud service stores footage of events that occurred in the last three rolling hours. This should be enough time for you to check most events you might miss and choose to download the video if it’s important, though it does mean you might miss some events overnight. The wide dynamic resolution should help to keep details clear, rather than under- or over-exposed. Support for 5GHz Wi-Fi networks means you don’t need to worry about compatibility.
That was our round-up of the best mid-market smart doorbells in 2021. Have you recently bought a mid-market smart doorbell? What sold you on it and what has your experience been with it so far? Let us know down below.